2017/2018 Estate and Gift Tax Update
Experts have started to calculate the inflation adjustments to key estate and gift exemption amounts for 2018. Note that these are not the official figures to be released by the IRS, but should be used as a guide. The IRS will officially release the numbers later this year.
For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2017, the applicable exclusion was increased from $5.45 million to $5.49 million. This change increased not only the applicable exclusion amount available at death, but also a taxpayer’s lifetime gift applicable exclusion amount and generation skipping transfer exclusion amount. This means a husband and wife with proper planning could transfer $10.98 million estate, gift and GST tax free to their children and grandchildren in 2017. The projected 2018 adjustment to the applicable exclusion will increase from $5.49 million to $5.6 million which means that a husband and wife with proper planning could potentially transfer $11.2 million estate, gift and GST tax free to their children and grandchildren in 2018.
For 2017, the estate, gift and GST tax rate remains the same at 40% and the gift tax annual exclusion remains at $14,000. For gifts made in 2018, the projected gift tax annual exclusion will be adjusted to $15,000 (up from $14,000 for gifts made in 2017).
The New Jersey Estate Tax repeal will be effective as of January 1, 2018. The current $2 million exemption which increased on January 1, 2017 is set to be eliminated as of January 1, 2018. Keep in mind that the New Jersey Inheritance Tax is still in effect. This is a tax imposed on transfers to beneficiaries who are not spouses, parents, children or grandchildren (i.e., nieces, nephews, siblings, friends, etc.) New Jersey Inheritance Tax rates start at 11% and go as high as 16%.
The New York exclusion amount was changed as of April 1, 2014. Beginning April 1, 2014, the exclusion has increased as follows:
• $2.0625 million for decedents dying between April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015;
• $3.125 million for decedents dying between April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016;
• $4.1875 million for decedents dying between April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017;
• $5.25 million for decedents dying between April 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018. Beginning in 2019, the exclusion would be indexed for inflation, and equal to the Federal exclusion.
In 2017, the gift tax annual exclusion to a non-citizen spouse was increased from $148,000 to $149,000. This is projected to increase to $152,000 in 2018. While gifts between spouses are unlimited if the donee spouse is a United States citizen, there are restrictions when the donee spouse is not a United States citizen.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.